Bell Helicopter does not go around displaying concept aircraft, but that custom changed with the Heli-Expo 2017 at Dallas, Texas where the company unveiled the FCX-001 concept helicopter.
Sleek silver body, futuristic design and artificial intelligence powered autopilot – the FCX-001 is a concept helicopter of the future that looks almost fictitious. The rotorcraft is powered by a hybrid power system and has an airframe constructed of sustainable materials. The rotor blades can morph into varying shapes as to suit different flight requirements.
The FCX-001 is a result of the six-month effort of a dedicated team. Mitch Snyder, the president and CEO of Bell Helicopter, explained at the expo,
“Six months ago we created a dedicated team to focus on emerging technologies and how we could incorporate them into our products. Among that team’s first tasks was to display visually the technologies and innovations that present a roadmap that we envision bringing to market.”
The FCX-001 is packed with innovative features inside and out. An anti-torque system at the tail boom improves safety, reduces noise, and increases performance. The propulsion system is a hybrid, where the thermal core handles both propulsion and feeds the electric motors powering the anti-torque system. The system gives better control and simpler maintenance.
The airframe of the copter is designed for improved visibility and awareness. The frame is made up of advanced sustainable materials which can even be customized. It serves as the center point to the craft’s energy management system which yields external and system energy to store, attenuate, and distribute it to other parts of the craft.
The chopper features augmented reality technology and artificial intelligence computer system. The multifunction display of the conventional helicopters is replaced by the augmented reality feature, giving the pilot an option just to be an overseer letting the AI do the job of autopilot. The concept chopper is a stepping stone to fully autonomous pilot-less VTOL aircraft, the company claims.
“Being a pioneer in the aircraft industry is in our DNA, and we want to share this renewed passion with the world. The FCX-001 points the way for our future – a renewed focus on innovative solutions and technologies. When the time is right we look forward to sharing more of what we’re doing behind closed doors, ” says Snyder.
You can even customize the seat layout or remove seats to make space for more cargo. The overhead LED lighting can be customized as per your requirement in both brightness and color. The augmented reality is not just for flight operation, it provides infotainment as well, supporting video conferences or document sharing.
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